5 — Chris Voss — FBI Negotiation Tactics for Business and Life


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"The secret to gaining the upper hand and a negotiation is giving the other side the illusion of control.” -Chris Voss

  • How can FBI hostage negotiation techniques level-up your leadership?
  • Why are emotional intelligence and tactical empathy the sharpest tools?
  • What is the 'Oprah rule' and why should you live your life by it?

Hostage Negotiations: From The FBI To The Boardroom

Chris Voss, former Lead International Kidnapping Negotiator for the FBI, and current CEO and The Black Swan Group, has had an action-packed career. He started out as a beat cop in New York City and moved laterally into hostage negotiations, thanks to his insatiable attitude to learning, and his insightful understanding of the human condition.

How Law Firm Leaders Can Level-Up Their Negotiation Skills

Over the years, Chris has worked with and trained some of the world's leading negotiators, entrepreneurs and business leaders. So what do all these people have in common? One greatly underestimated skill ties all these people together: emotional intelligence.

Do you have it, or do you need to work on it? Chris explains why it's so vital, and how it can lead to the ultimate collaboration, whether you're negotiating fees, or handling a case.

The Link Between Tactical Empathy In Business And Neuroscience

In the words of Chris Voss: "Tactical empathy. It's low maintenance and it works". But what exactly is this so-called Jedi mind trick? Chris explains how negotiation strategies are linked to cognitive empathy, and how his theory of tactical empathy is evidenced in our scientific understanding of how our brains function.

Key takeaways:

  • The greatest hack for any budding law firm negotiator is a mindset of discovery. Chris' natural curiosity has worked in his favor in hostage negotiations, and throughout his career. Although Chris has honed his skills over the years, this mindset can be taught and cultivated. Like any skill worth having, it takes dedication, but Chris lets us in on a few daily practices that can start you on the road to masterful negotiation.
  • One trick to gaining the upper hand in negotiations is to give your counterpart the illusion of control. Chris explains how to plant seeds of doubt in order to make your adversary think twice. This isn't about mind-manipulation or leading someone astray, it's about creating a favorable situation so that you can avoid being taken advantage of - highly applicable to the legal landscape, from the boardroom to the courtroom.
  • Chris Voss lives his life by the Oprah rule - pull out when you need to, but always leave the door open. The last impression is the lasting impression, and by exiting professionally and politely you always leave space for further collaboration if desired. So what if someone doesn't let you leave politely? Chris breaks down this predatory move and explains what your next course of action should be.

Links And Resources

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